Irvine, Calif. (February 24, 2014) – Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki continued their dominance of the 250SX class in Atlanta by capturing their fourth straight main event win on Saturday. In front of his hometown crowd at the Georgia Dome, Martin Davalos became the third consecutive rider to achieve his first professional win following Justin Hill in San Diego and Adam Cianciarulo in Dallas. Cianciarulo bounced back from qualifying through the LCQ to finish second and remain in the points lead, while Blake Baggett fought through the field to finish fifth. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto led nine laps of the 450SX main event but a mistake with five laps remaining dropped him to finish in second place.
Long Time Coming
In his ninth professional year of supercross, Davalos was finally able to capture his first professional 250SX class win. Davalos has been known for his supercross skills since his rookie debut in 2006, but the stars had yet to align until Saturday night. For two consecutive weekends the Ecuadorian has been fastest qualifier and won his heat race and now has the allusive main event win he has been chasing. Davalos took the lead coming into the second turn and never looked back leading wire-to-wire.
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“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Martin. “It’s been a long time coming and I couldn’t have done it without everyone who has stuck behind me all this time. My family is here from Ecuador, which means the world to me. People don’t realize what I’ve done to commit to chasing this dream.”
Throughout qualifying the rookie Cianciarulo did not seem affected by the weight of the red plates on his KX™250F. It wasn’t until the gate dropped for the heat race that he found himself on the ground twice and was forced to the LCQ. Appearing more like a veteran than a rookie, AC grabbed the holeshot and won his spot into the main event without falter. Lining up outside like he did in the LCQ, he was able to grab another holeshot and battled for the lead heading into the next turn. He stayed on the heels of Davalos for the full 15 laps, but could not close the gap.
“I made my first rookie mistakes tonight,” said Cianciarulo. “I saw the flashing lights for the caution during the main and thought I had to roll the section. I lost a lot of time on Martin. I won’t be making that mistake again. But considering how the night started, I’m happy to be on the podium and stoked for Martin and the team.”
Finding his Groove
Villopoto found himself in an unfamiliar place during qualifying as he was struggling with the track and qualified eighth. Before the night show, the Monster Energy Kawasaki team made some adjustments to his KX™450F and he went out and won his heat race. In the main event, the champ lost some ground on the first lap, but picked off riders and led for nine laps before making a mistake. He dropped to second and continued to chase the leader but could not make up the time he gave away.
“My own mistakes cost me the win,” said Villopoto. “It took us a little longer than we wanted to figure out the track, but we had the bike dialed for the night show. I came around the inside after the big double and just slid out enough that I couldn’t make the triple.”
Baggett was strong and confident in Atlanta and grabbed his first heat race win of the season right off the bat. In the main event he got pushed around on the start and found himself last on the start straight. Undeterred, Baggett progressively moved through the field and crossed the finish line in fifth place.
“Tonight wasn’t what we wanted,” said Baggett. “That said I salvaged a good amount of points and have to look at it that way. We’re still sitting third behind Adam and Martin and we’ll be back next week.”
Davalos has led many supercross main events, including last weekend in Dallas, but misfortune had always found him. After establishing himself out front and building a gap on Cianciarulo, the nerves started to get to him. He backed down his speed to play it safe, but that almost cost him when a mistake nearly put him on the ground with one lap remaining.
“I knew I had a good gap on Adam and didn’t want to take any chances,” said Davalos. “But I was cruising too much and just about went down! I’m happy to get this out of the way and continue this success each weekend.”
Keys to the City
Monster Energy Supercross continues its Eastern swing in one weeks time returning to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., next Saturday. Villopoto has stood atop the podium the past four years in Indy and will look continue that streak.